Empowerment and Protection
The Commission has long recognised that it is necessary for players to take responsibility for their own gambling activities, and it has committed itself to helping them do that. Steps taken in the last year in the pursuit of that aim include the introduction of expanded requirements for operators to provide better information about games and promotional offers, making it possible for players to control the amount of time and/or money that they spend gambling and improving self-exclusion schemes.
The introduction of The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 has extended the Gambling Commission’s regulatory regime to operators which, whilst based overseas, supply more than 85% of the domestic market. It is no longer possible for operators to use a non-UK location as an excuse to evade UK regulations, and the Commission is actively working with its licensed operators to raise standards in a number of ways. For example, the largest operators must now provide annual assurance statements, to which they are held accountable.
The Commission has been working closely with a number of partners in an ongoing effort to improve regulatory and law enforcement not just domestically, but overseas too. Here in the UK, the Commission has been working with the Advertising Standards Authority, Ofcom and the Committees of Advertising Practice to help ensure that players are not mislead by the advertisements of operators, particularly in regards to free bets and bonus offers. Last November it also launched a Sports Betting Integrity Forum to prevent, deter and detect corrupts sports and sports betting. Farther afield, the Commission is helping the International Olympic Committee to prepare for Rio 2016.
National Lottery Good Causes
The National Lottery has changed considerably since its launch in 1994, but its commitment to raising money for good causes is as fundamental today as it was over two decades ago. The Committee has been increasing its work with the lottery operator to ensure that the maximum possible benefit is returned to good causes, and in 2014/15 some £1.8 billion was raised for that purpose, which was a year-on-year increase of 6.6%.
Whilst the Gambling Commission does essential work to safeguard the integrity of the gambling industry and the wellbeing of players in the UK, it doesn’t often make headlines. The latest annual report outlines the efforts that are being made behind the scenes, and serves as an encouraging reminder that we are fortunate to have one of the most rigorous systems of gambling regulation in the world.